Uihlein Farm of Cornell University New York Foundation Seed Potato Program
The Uihlein Farm is part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is managed by the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology. The Uihlein Farm is the official seed potato farm in New York State, is located at an elevation of 2100 feet in the scenic Adirondack Mountains, approximately 2 miles south of the village of Lake Placid. This well-isolated farm site consists of approximately 175 tillable acres. It was donated to Cornell University in the fall of 1961 by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Uihlein II of Heaven Hill Farm, Lake Placid, for the express purpose of producing basic potato seed stocks for the New York potato industry.
In 1977, the Uihleins provided the funds to construct the Henry Uihlein II laboratory, a facility consisting of a laboratory and an adjoining 125 foot greenhouse. This facility is used to develop disease-free nuclear seed stocks of commercial varieties along with selections from Cornell and other State or Federal potato breeding programs through pathogen-testing of seed originating from tissue cultured plantlets. Plantlets grown in the test tubes are thoroughly screened for disease-causing microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, numerous viruses and the potato spindle tuber viroid. All stocks produced on the Uihlein Farm originate from this tissue cultured, pathogen-tested protocol.
In the first year of a production cycle, healthy plantlets are transplanted to pots in the greenhouse. Tubers produced in the greenhouse are referred to as minitubers or the prenuclear stock. In year 2, minitubers are planted in seed plots in the field to produce the nuclear 1 stock. In the third year, the nuclear 1 stock is used to plant the majority of the Farm acreage. The resulting nuclear 2 stock serves as the source of nuclear seed for New York’s seed potato industry. Seedstocks leaving the Uihlein Farm are usually only two field years removed from the test tube generation, although when varieties are in demand, nuclear 3 stocks are sometimes produced in a third year of production. Approximately 65 varieties are increased for distribution to seed growers. For special orders, accelerated production is facilitated by directly transplanting plantlets into the field for tuber production.